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review 2017-08-24 00:38
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Okay. I wrote a pretty bad review about this book when I first read it, and I didn't even finish it. It has a lot of flaws, a load of stereotypes about gay people and the LGBT community, and frequently reads like a very bad fanfiction. 

 

However, I recently had another go at this book. And...I'm surprised at what it turned out to be. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit! It wasn't so obvious at first, but there is something of a coherent story going on between all the stereotypes and cliches and bad Tumblr-isms going on within these mellow pages.

 

So, here's the thing. This book is supposedly a gay romance between two guys at school. They communicate by email, but for the most part they keep their identities hidden from each other, and their relationship develops throughout the book.

 

This was probably my favourite part of the book. Simon and Blue, as they're known, have quite an engaging relationship and it even reminded me about some of my early online relationships at school. It was sweet, and it was cute. It wasn't too "girly", as slash romance is often portrayed by yaoi writers who don't know what they're doing. It was just right. I really liked it.

 

So, our story begins when one of the boys in Simon's class, Martin, mentions that he's seen Simon's emails with Blue (showing that he's gay), and blackmails him.

 

What the hell man. We've barely started the book, we've barely established this gay protagonist, and already this straight guy is blackmailing him? To get him in with a girlfriend, of all things?

 

Oh, boy. 

By the way, we've also got a love triangle. A straight love triangle, between Simon's friends. You know, his straight friends. Because that's what we want to read about in a book about gay romance.

 

I enjoyed the characters. A bunch of drama goes on in the book - I couldn't even bother to explain it all, but I will say that the author had a good grasp on what coming out is like for gay people, homophobia in general, all that stuff. She did it right and I can appreciate her for that.

 

I don't really appreciate all the gay stereotypes she put in, however.

Tegan and Sara? Seriously? Harry Potter? One of the main characters is a fangirl who is into Draco/Harry? (Actually, she was written pretty well. I expected her to be a lot worse.)

 

And what the hell is up with all these Tumblr-isms? They're everywhere! It's like the author found a bunch of stuff that she knew would be popular with Tumblr girls who like gay things, you know, mostly slash fangirls, and she put them all in her book. 

 

Oh, by the way, Tumblr is mentioned multiple times in the book. The author refers to it as "the Tumblr".

Dude. Nobody calls it that. It's just called Tumblr. Nobody says "I saw your post on the Facebook." It sounds so annoying and just tells your reader that you haven't done any research whatsoever.

 

What's amusing is that later on in the book, Simon ends up coming out to his family and friends. And everyone's...fine with it? I mean, there's not much homophobia at all. It's when he comes out to the general public where problems start.

 

Anyway, I don't really want to ramble about this book. It's a good read, but it is just FULL of little irritations which put me off. It's good, not because of the portrayal of gay relationships, but because of the characters and plot and the high school setting. I mean, you can kinda tell that the author is some straight woman who wants to write about her cute little gays. It's just so painfully obvious.

 

For what it's worth, I ended up liking it quite a bit. The protagonist is a complete idiot, by the way. There's a point in the book where he says that he always thought Jews came from Israel. There's another point when he starts thinking that Martin (the straight guy blackmailing him about his sexuality) is really Blue (the gay guy that he's been communicating with about his sexuality), even though the former is a piece of shit throughout the whole book.

 

I don't even know how you can make such a dire mistake like that. Seriously. I'd narrowed down Blue's identity to two people about halfway through the book. It wasn't too hard, really...

 

Anyway. I'm giving this 3.5/5. It was good, but...I don't know, it was just chock-full of flaws. It's not aimed at gay people, either. It's a gay romance aimed at straight girls who go on Tumblr a lot. And in that respect, it could do a LOT better.

 

 

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review 2017-04-30 15:28
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

This is such an awesome book! I loved it! It's funny and cute and cynical and it's great. I really liked Simon's narration. It is very casual and feels so natural. It is easy to get to know Simon and really identify with his emotions as he tries to deal with high school issues such as friend feuds, coming out, and of course being blackmailed. The characters felt very real, just flawed enough to make them realistic, but still likeable. I really liked how different Simon's relationships are with various people: Alice, Nora, his parents, Leah, Nick, Martin, Abby, Blue. Simon felt like such a three-dimensional character and I really enjoyed reading his point of view. I'm not super into romantic books, but this one was flipping cute. The last few chapters- I can't even. Just beyond adorable. Those e-mails were so cute, and it was really cool to be able to watch Simon and Blue fall in love. And even when the plot wasn't really exciting, the narration was interesting, which made me want to keep reading. I really liked Simon's character. This is a great book. I highly recommend.

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review 2017-04-19 17:04
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

This has been a book I've been meaning to read since its publication date. So many people have talked about how it's such an amazing book about LGBTQIAP+ characters and their struggles being in a high school environment. And I've wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Well, I finally read it and I have to say that it is a very good book indeed!

 

The writing is so refreshing. Albertalli writes in a way that most teens write/talk. I enjoyed her writing style quite a bit. It's a fun style. It's easy to read through. In fact, I read this book in one sitting. I don't think it's anything mind-blowing, but that's not what Albertalli was aiming for. She was trying to capture the essence of what it is to be a teenager and I think she succeeded fairly well. My one complaint about her writing was whenever she talked about Tumblr. If you have a Tumblr, you know that it's main focus/use is for people to connect with their fandoms. However, within the story, Albertalli uses it more as a tool for gossip... which is an aspect that is used on FaceBook, not Tumblr. Also, Tumblr users don't tend to say "I saw it on the Tumblr." We just say Tumblr. It came off as someone who has heard of Tumblr but never really used it. You know "trying to be hip with the kids" and all that. It was not necessary and felt completely forced.

 

The story itself is quite entertaining. Simon, main character, is closeted and talks to this other boy, nicknamed Blue, about what he's feeling and going through as a gay teen. However, another boy, Martin, finds out about Simon being gay and uses it to blackmail Simon into helping him woo Simon's friend, Abby, and the story goes on from there. It's filled with drama, rivalries, angst, and the like. It's a great contemporary novel about high school life and struggling with sexuality. I also love this novel for not being completely bleak either. That's not to say Simon doesn't deal with some turmoil; there's a bit of that, too. But I like that it's not all tragic. I am sick and tired of reading LGBTQIAP+ fiction and it always ending in tragedies. Queer people are not tragedies waiting to have for heterosexuals entertainment. And I feel that this book understood that and actually gave hope and happiness for the characters, which is something I appreciate tremendously.

 

Now let's talk about the characters! Simon is our lead and he's trying to figure out who he is whilst trying not to change in a constantly changing world. I like him. He's fun and energetic if a bit stupid. No, seriously... he's dumb. Throughout the entire novel, he was trying to figure out the true identity of Blue and it took him until the end of the book to figure it out. The reader is able to figure it out before the half-way mark of the novel so it was just his own stupidity, really, that he couldn't figure it out. Also, there's a thing that happens in the end that involves a T-shirt that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at. I mean, really, Simon? You didn't check the bloody shirt for two weeks? If you read the book, you know what I mean. Anyway, he's a good kid. He's just a little dumb.

 

Martin is a douche. He does so many unspeakable things for no other reason than jealousy. He's a very shallow character who is self-entitled and annoys the crap out of me. Abby is cool. She's a character that was very sweet and loving and I adore how she doesn't judge anyone. She is my favorite character by far. Leah is Simon's other friend and I love that she likes anime/manga. The one thing about her character that I don't like was how she was always treating Abby so coldly because, you guessed it, of jealously. Why is it that female characters can't be friends with each other? And yeah, there are other female characters in the book that are awesome, too, but the main ones are Abby and Leah, and Leah spends the entire book hating on Abby. This trend where females are always at each other's throats because of some GUY really needs to end. Women are more than bratty, bitchy characters fighting over men. Please write better female characters! DX

 

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I had problems with how Simon acted and how the women were sometimes portrayed, but other than that, it was a fun book. I love how Albertalli called out how wrong it is for people to consider being white and straight as the default to all. She did have interracial couples within the book and she had more than two gay characters. So it's a pretty solid read despite what I stated previously. I do see potential for this author to grow and be even more inclusive. So if you're looking for a fun light read about teenagers in high school, then give this a shot. I think you might like it.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-09 15:03
Nur Drei Worte // Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda !!!
Nur drei Worte - Becky Albertalli,Ingo Herzke

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

German and english review

 

Das war eindeutig eins der Bücher, von denen man so viel letztes Jahr gehört hat, egal welchem Booktuber oder Buchblogger man folgt. Es war überall. Ich hatte es dann bei NetGalley gefunden aber bin ewig nicht dazu gekommen es zu lesen. Aber jetzt hat es endlich geklappt und ich bin wirklich so happy.

 

Kleine Inhaltsangabe:

Was Simon über Blue weiß: Er ist witzig, sehr weise, aber auch ein bisschen schüchtern. Und ganz schön verwirrend. Was Simon nicht über Blue weiß: WER er ist. Die beiden gehen auf dieselbe Schule und schon seit Monaten tauschen sie E-Mails aus, in denen sie sich die intimsten Dinge gestehen. Simon spürt, dass er sich langsam, aber sicher in Blue verliebt, doch der ist noch nicht bereit, sich mit Simon zu treffen. Dann fällt eine der E-Mails in falsche Hände – und plötzlich steht Simons Leben Kopf. (x)

 

Der Schreibstil war unheimlich schön, so lustig, leicht und locker. Die Emails zwischen drinnen, fand ich super, weil ich einfach alles mag, was ein bisschen anders als einfacher Text geschrieben ist.

 

Die Charaktere und ihre Beziehungen. Ich liebe LIEBE Simon als Hauptcharakter. Er ist einfach so richtig klasse und ich mag seine Art von Humor. Ich fand seine Gruppe von Freunden unheimlich klasse, Nick, Abby und Leah. Und mochte auch die Beziehung zwischen den Vieren, es war nicht immer einfach aber wirklich total schön. Und dann Simon's Familie. Sie sind oftmals total über das Ziel hinausgeschossen aber ich fand sie alle total liebenswert. Und Blue. BLUE. Ich werde seinen richtigen Namen in der Bewertung nicht schreiben, einfach um Spoiler zu vermeiden. Ich fand ihn so klasse, in den Emails (kein Wunder, dass sich Simon in ihn verliebt hat) und dann als wir ihn richtig kennenlernen konnten und ein Gesicht zu den Worten hatten. Ich bin so glücklich, dass er es war und find die beiden einfach nur super süß zusammen. Übrigens hätte ich absolut nichts gegen ein Buch, dass uns die Geschichte aus der Sicht von Blue erzählt, wollte ich unbedingt mal erwähnen.

Den einzigen, den ich absolut nicht mochte, war Martin. Seine Entschuldigungsemail war mir da zum Ende wirklich einfach egal, denn er war mir einfach so total unsympathisch und was er gemacht hat, das macht man einfach nicht. Nope.

 

Das Ende kam ein bisschen überraschend für mich, nicht von der Story her, sondern eher, dass ich gerade mal bei um die 80% war und auf einmal die Danksagung kam. Ich hätte noch so gerne ein bisschen mehr von Simon und Blue gelesen.

 

Aber alles im Allen, wirklich ein absolutes 5 Sterne Buch für mich. Bin super gespannt auf andere Bücher der Autorin.

 

***

 

That has been one of the books that you couldn't get past last year, no matter what type of booktuber or bookblogger you follow. It was everywhere. I found it on Netgalley but never really found the right time to start it. But now I did and I'm so happy about it.

 

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. (x)

 

The writing was just so great, so funny, easy and fluffy. The emails in between, loved it, I'm just a sucker for everything that is a bit different from normal text.

 

The characters and their relationships. I love LOVE Simon as a maincharacter. He is so amazing and I love his sense of humor. I thought his group of friends were amazing, Nick, Abby and Leah. I loved the relationship between these four, even though it wasn't always perfect, it was beautiful and real. And Simon's family. They were a bit over the top sometimes but they were so loveable. And Blue. BLUE. I won't mention his real name in the review, just to avoid spoilers. I loved him, in his emails (no wonder, Simon fell for him) and then when we actually got to meet him and put a face to his words. I'm so happy that it turned out to be him and the two of them were just so freaking cute together. I would love a book from Blue's point of view, just saying.

The only one I didn't like at all, was Martin. His apology email did nothing for me and at that point I didn't even care, he was just so unlikeable and what he did, you just don't do crap like that. Nope.

 

The ending came as a bit of a surprise, not because of the story but because I was only at like 80% and suddenly there was the author saying her thanks to all the people involved. I wasn't ready, I wanted some more Simon and Blue.

 

But overall, the book is a total 5 star book for me. I'm so excited to read more books by the author.

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review 2016-10-26 00:00
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli This was the most aww worthy little YA novel I've read in a long ass while. I would have loved this when I was sixteen, but it was still pretty adorable at twenty nine.
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